If you're planning to take on your garden before the end of summer, take a look at some of the latest ideas for stylish outdoor spaces. 

 modern london garden with multi-levels - grand designs - home improvements

Image: This elegant 30x4m garden in Richmond, Surrey, by designer Chris Harrington of Harrington Porter used reclaimed antique gates from a French chateaux

For many people this year, their garden has been a lifeline during lockdown, and if you hadn't quite got around to making the most of yours, a few months spent stuck at home will have no doubt provided some motivation to do so. 

Whether you're engaging a garden designer, or plan to put in the work yourself, there are some key trends to consider to make the most out of your space for 2020 and beyond. 

Outdoor living spaces 

 exterior seating space outside of modern home - grand designs - home improvements

Image: Designer wicker contemporary outdoor armchair and 3 seater sofa, Juliettes Interiors 

While the trend for creating comfortable ouside seating areas was on the rise for 2020 regardless, no one was quite expecting how important being able to use your garden space to get outdoors would be this year. 

Louise Golden, resident gardener at Dobbies Garden Centres, describes the trend as he Fifth Room: "Often more than not it needs to flex to meet several purposes – an oasis for quiet contemplation, a play area for children and an entertaining space for social get togethers," she says. 

Read more: Outdoor lighting: what you need to know

Low maintenance planting 

Some homeowners love to spend hours out in the garden, but many would prefer a planted space that tends to care for itself. There may not be such a thing as no maintenance, but evergreens need little care after planting, and look good all year around. 

Avoid fine lawns and lots of containers for a hassle-free design, as these will require more care. 

Container gardening 

container gardening outside a modern outbuilding home - grand designs

Image: thejoyofplants.co.uk

However, container gardening is a trend in its own right. Flexible and easy to adapt when using your garden for different functions, choosing potted plants over traditional plant beds also a offers a less rigid style. 

"Container gardening is not confined to small spaces, such as courtyards, balconies and roof gardens, or to urban areas either for that matter," Modern Container Garden author Isabelle Palmer says. "Admittedly, if you only have a small balcony, then a few containers allow you to indulge your horticultural passion and enjoy plants throughout the year, but larger gardens can also benefit from some well-chosen containers."

Outdoor kitchens 

outdoor kitchen on scandinavian property - grand designs

Image: Lundhs Real Stone, courtesy of Scenario Interior Architects

To allow for al fresco entertaining alongsideyour outdoor living room, the garden kitchen has exploded in popularity in recent years. Elevating your barbecue area from a simple freestanding grill, you'll now find a run of weather-proof countertop in many gardens, with built-in storage, cooking equipment and sometimes even an outdoor sink and fridge. 

Read more: How to build an outdoor kitchen

Corten steel

large outdoor sofa in front of panting and corten steel fence - grand designs - garden

Image: Large outdoor designer modern modular corner sofa, Juliettes Interiors 

Corten steel has become a lustworthy choice for exterior cladding of self builds and renovations, so it's no suprise that this has followed into the garden too. From stylish corten garden fences and screening to corten planters, the oxidised orange colour of this material makes for a striking contrast with green, leafy garden spaces. 

Decorative screening 

Elfindale night screen

Image: Nathalie Priem for Georgia Lindsay Garden Design

Whether it's for your recycling bins or your bicycles, the best new garden designs hide away anything unsightly subtly behind decorative screening. From simple, slated fencing to these more decorative, artistics screens - the likes of which you can find at Screen With Envy - make for a striking feature in a garden. 


For more home renovation inspiration, read Grand Designs magazine digitally for free now by registering your details

read a free issue of grand designs magazine


How to successfully landscape a garden

5 design-led items to add to your garden

Garden walls and fences: what you need to know

Kevins Column

Top self build highlights at Grand Designs Live 2019 hosted by Kevin McCloud

Find top experts, specialist exhibitors and a wealth of inspiration for your self-build or renovation project all under one roof.
Home Improvements

Pocket doors: what are the benefits of an Eclisse system?

Pocket doors slide into gaps in the wall, saving you floor space and helping to make the most of your home. Find out how they...
Home Improvements

Discover the next generation of shower toilets

Shower toilets have come of age with the appliance of science – the latest are app-controlled, hygienic and blend seamlessly into modern homes.
Home Improvements

How to commission a bespoke dining table

Want your dream dining table for your home renovation? Then commission it yourself. Here's what you need to know.
Home Improvements

Designer radiators: Interior tips for choosing the right style

There are plenty of options to consider when buying a designer radiator. Our buyer’s guide looks at the hottest trends for 2021.
Home Improvements

An innovative upper floor construction method that improves performance

A Lewis Deck system is perfect for a solid, secure upstairs floor without heavy beams and blocks, with great acoustic properties.
Home Improvements

How frameless rooflights can maximise your home’s natural light

Rooflights are the perfect way to brighten your home with natura light. We take a look at a range of stylish rooflights for design-led homes